Investigating Pipe Sleeve Fill Material



The UK gas distribution network includes metallic pipelines which require additional protection due to location. External pipe sleeves are installed around these pipelines to protect against external damage and extend the assets design life. If the pipeline comes into contact with air and water, it can result in oxidisation which causes corrosion. This can compromise the integrity of the pipeline, potentially leading to structural failure and breach of containment.


Nitrogen filled sleeves are under constant remote pressure monitoring to ensure the inert atmosphere is maintained. Discrepancies in the data collected for non-nitrogen sleeves has led to a requirement for validation of fill materials in the population.


If the annulus between the pipe and sleeve is vacant it can result in air and water entering the sleeve. In this case the water is unable to drain away into the ground and is instead held in place next to the pipe, causing water line corrosion at the surface level where the water and air interact.


This significantly affects the high pressure (HP) local transmission system (LTS), in particular non-piggable (OLI4) pipelines. These pipelines cannot be internally surveyed to detect corrosion spots and so the effects may not be detected till a late stage resulting in extremely expensive and time-consuming as the repair and maintenance.


At present the only means of determining sleeve fill material is to undertake a deep excavation at both ends of a pipeline and drill into the sleeve end seals to visually assess. Therefore a new method for undertaking an investigation of sleeve fill material is required.


Preferred output


It is envisaged that a non-invasive method to determine the annular filling material between the pipe and the sleeve may be identified.


Read the full brief for this innovation call here.


Process for registering interest


The closure date for registering initial interest is 14.12.2018. 


To register initial interest and request an ‘expression of interest’ form, please enter your details online. Alternatively, please call the Energy Innovation Centre on 0151 348 8040 and quote the reference number.


Please note: Specific EOI forms are created for each individual ‘Call for Innovation’ and the matching form will be required to progress any submissions. Office open hours are between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.